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(Family Division; Sumner J; 10 November 2006)
The child, aged 10, believed that the mother's long-term partner was his father. The father, whose paternity had been established by DNA tests, had begun proceedings seeking contact with the child, but had disappeared having apparently abandoned the proceedings. The father's solicitors had come off the record, and the court had made a s 91(14) of the Children Act 1989 order to prevent the father from re-opening the case without permission, but the court still had to consider the issue of the child's best interests in relation to the revelation of true paternity.
There were situations in which the seriousness of an issue raised in relation to a child and its impact on the child's welfare would require the court to act of its own motion, appointing a Guardian for the child, and hearing further argument. The court had considered that option, but, presuming that there was jurisdiction to direct the mother to inform the child of his true paternity, had resolved not to pursue that route, on the understanding that the mother would tell the child when he was 16, or earlier if possible.
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